Monday, August 23, 2010

How To Make A Hobo Purse

Hey everyone!  I have another confession for you all: I'm a "bag girl."  Yup, I'm addicted to bags and purses.  I love to buy them, look at them and, yes, make them.  So, while I certainly didn't NEED another bag today, I wanted one.  Instead of spending money I don't have, I made one out of materials I already had.

This hobo is just the right size to carry my essentials and it was super easy to make.

What you need:

Interfacing (optional)

Sewing machine



Measuring tape



First, cut out a rectangle of fabric for the main body of your purse. You'll be folding it in half to make your purse, so you'll want to make the rectangle's length twice as long as you want your final bag's height to be.  Make it as wide as you want your bag to be. Add an inch or two of seam allowance to all your measurements. My rectangle was 18.5 x 13 inches long.

Next cut two rectangles of fabric that are half the length of the piece you just cut, plus about an inch of seam allowance.These will be the sides of your bag, so make them as thick as you want your bag to be, plus seam allowance.  

Pin your side panel to the side of your bag's main body, right sides together. Start at the top edge and pin until you get to the main body's middle, which will be folded to create the bag's bottom.

Pin one side, then fold your main rectangle and pin the panel's other side to the main body's other side. 

Now, pin the side panel's bottom to the folded curve of the main body piece. You may need to push your side panels down to fit them into the curve. If this is the case, don't worry. Push the side panel down until it fits into the curve without too much pleating.  

You can cut off the excess fabric after you pin the panel in place.

Fold over your panel's raw edges and sew to create a clean edge on your bag's outside. Do the same for the front of the bag.

Measure your bag's front and cut out a flap that is that width plus seam allowance. Make it as long as you want. It can go all the way down your bag's front, like on a messenger bag, or it can cover a small section of your bag's front, like mine does.

Fold over the flap's edges and sew them down. You don't have to sew down the edge that will actually be attached to the bag (the flap's top). We'll take care of that in a minute.

I cut my flap out of some brown faux leather. To give it more character, I sewed randomly all over it, like I did in my "How To Make A Scrappy Cuff" tutorial.

Fold over the flap's raw edge about half an inch and pin.

Turn the bag right side out and fold the back top edge over about half an inch so it's on the inside of the bag.

Pin the bag's folded edge to the flap's folded edge. The flap's front should be facing you and it should be on the bag's inside.

Sew the flap to the back of the bag. Fold the flap over the front of your bag.  You may want to stuff your bag so it has shape. Once it is stuffed, see where the flap naturally falls. Decide where you want your button to be. Cut out a button hole and sew around it. Sew a button onto your bag so that it matches with the button hole.

Now it's time to make a strap. You can cut one out of fabric or use an old belt, like I am. You can have a long strap and carry your bag cross body, or have a shorter shoulder strap. Go with whatever you like best!

Pin your strap's ends to your bag's side panels and sew securely.

At this point, my bag is done. I used a stiff batik fabric for my bag's main body, so I didn't need interfacing or a liner. If you're using a thinner fabric, or plan to carry a lot of stuff in your bag, you may want to add interfacing or a liner to make your bag sturdier.  

If you're adding a liner, cut your main body rectangle and side panels out of your liner fabric as well as your main fabric. Sew your liner pieces together just like you did the main bag. When your main bag and liner bags are sewn, put your liner inside your main bag, wrong sides together, pin in the raw edges of both bags and sew them together by top-stitching all along your bag's top. Then add your flap and straps just like I showed you above.

You're done! Go out there and show off your cute new hobo bag.

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